God is doing a new thing…Update March 2014!

Dear Partners, Friends, & Family,

All the Details (read all)

Short Version (check the highlighted sections)

I have been anxiously awaiting the chance to write this post and update you all on how GOD has opened doors and is moving in such an exciting way in our life in the past few months. As many of you know, GOD has made it clear that for now Juan Manuel is to be serving in the business world and we were blessed with a job for him. He is being challenged and pushed in this very dynamic position but also finding a lot of enjoyment in what he does and we remain thankful!

After a retreat time with the Lord at the beginning of the year in seeking GOD’s will, I pursued what GOD had laid on my heart. It has not been easy because though in some ways it seemed clear GOD had opened the door for me to continue serving in missions I feel very much like Gideon as being “the least in my father’s house” and just difficulty in accepting this position of what I consider to be a huge privilege! But…as He always does…GOD has answered and shown himself big to give the confirmation we are on His path. So here is a little of what I’ve been up to:

At For His Children or Hogar Para Sus Ninos (an orphanage in Quito), GOD has opened the door for me to serve in at least two specific ways:

  • 1. Once a week we have a time for the orphans, ages 3 to 9 years, to learn about Jesus! Last week we told the story of Jesus walking on water, what it means to have faith and how Jesus is better than a Superhero (cue a song with motions and all : ) via puppets. It has not been easy as it has been nearly 20 years since I have been involved in Children’s Church ministry – not to mention in another language. I am constantly in search of material to engage them, address their unique wounds, stay true to GOD’s word (and have some fun!) Though with the translation and many other factors it is a new world for me it is very much in line with my passion to spread the good news about Jesus to these precious kids…so GOD is teaching me so much flexibility and to completely rely on Him to give me the ability, creativity, wisdom, etc…I will hope to have pictures soon but am pretty limited for confidentiality reasons so in the mean time you can see a picture of our little puppet booth. Our prayer is that no matter how long these little ones are in the orphanage they will invite Jesus in their hearts and follow Him no matter who or what they are around.  (“so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11″)
Puppet booth at For His Children orphanage
Puppet booth at For His Children orphanage

Puppet Booth @ For His Children orphanage
Puppet Booth @ For His Children orphanage

2. Weekly I am honored to facilitate a bible study and prayer time with the international volunteers that come regularly to serve at For His Children. I am passionate about working with young women after GOD’s rescue plan taking effect in m own life and it is really special to have a front row seat in what GOD is doing in their lives and possibly get to be a part of their growing and maturing in Christ…all by GOD’s grace. Not all the volunteers are young women but a large majority is. Many volunteers are Christians but we also have many come that are not or are still pretty unclear of who GOD is to them personally and how to follow Him. Our goal is always salvation first but also includes helping the volunteers really let this experience change their life now and in their future for how GOD wants to use them and it not just be a mountain-top experience. As we watch how GOD lets this evolve I am talking with the staff about many other possibilities, one of which includes traveling regularly to the second orphanage, mostly for special needs children, ran by For His Children in Latacunga (about   2 hours away) to begin the same program there. I would so much appreciate your prayers here that GODwill meet us in this time and He will have His hand upon me because without him no ones life will be transformed and grow His kingdom! Gracias!

  • Women’s Prison in Quito or Carcel de Mujeres el INCA through the ministry “Alma Libre” or “Free Soul”

    – First, I would like to paint a little bit of a picture of what it is like here. This prison is made for 300-400 prisoners but is currently holding 700-800 women along with around 80 children that have nowhere else to go and must live in the prison with their mothers. The main reason women here are incarcerated is for drug trafficking. There is a significant amount of the population that is English speaking as we have many foreigners as well. Currently, it is like a free for all inside with selling and using drugs and even visitors coming in as some women prostitute themselves for money or drugs. You can imagine how difficult it would be to live in a place like this rampant with evil and living on top of one another with very little food, toiletries, blankets, etc…”Alma Libre” is a group of women that go weekly to facilitate a Bible study in English and Spanish and I am so excited to join. They also go as often as possible on visitor’s days for one-on-one discipleship and counseling. Lastly, they provide many basic need items to these women, help with making sure they receive necessary medical attention and medicine, and often are able to help on some level in their legal proceedings. I am so thrilled to be a part of “Alma Libre” now and try to help these women come to know Jesus and find hope in the midst of horrific trial. I cannot even begin to describe to you what I’ve seen so far and the testimonies of lives changed inside and outside the prison. I think of how powerful it can be to find the joy and peace only GOD can bring in the midst of a situation like this as many of these women have been scammed or lied to by boyfriends or even in some circumstances me pretending to be pastors and leaders of different sorts and are now facing 8+ years in prison, and for some, in a foreign country with little to no help, support or representation.

    Outside view of the women's prison in Quito from top of the wall
    Outside view of the women’s prison in Quito from top of the wall

    Inside view of the women's prison
    Inside view of the women’s prison

    We had an awesome time a few weeks ago in worshiping GOD as I was given the opportunity to help lead worship in Spanish (sooo very good for my learning). Last week we welcomed a new prisoner from Norway, she was so scared, brokenhearted and physically ill. I see the message of Jesus and His grace and forgiveness all over this as we were able to counsel her, give her a few comforts and lead her to the only answer…GOD! Once again GOD is teaching me so much flexibility, humility and trust in Him as this is a crazy new environment and experience…but I feel the tugging on my heart from GOD to love on these women, and show them mercy and grace despite what the justice system decides!

    After talking and praying with the leader of “Alma Libre” we are looking at the possibility of getting permission for me to use an office once or twice a week to provide one-on-one counseling for some of the prisoners and/or children. I share this because I need your prayers please. I know this will be tough and I do not want this unless GOD does. Please pray for wisdom and if GOD wants to use me in this way He will open the doors for an office I can use…as well as constant protection for the whole “Alma Libre” team.

  • Spanish…Spanish…Spanish

    (or should I say Espanol : ) in the time between I am desperately seeking to learn this language and learn it well. It has surprisingly been much harder than I thought. I ask for GOD’s help and gifting in this often because it is so hard sometimes to see the great need and not be able to do much of anything due to the language. These last few weeks have been really encouraging but I know it is a long journey to attempt to know this language on a level where I can really communicate to their hearts…but GOD can do anything! : )

One last thing I would like to share …I am working on starting my private practice to provide Christian Counseling, especially to those who typically would not be able to afford this kind of service. With Juan Manuel’s work and the generous donations from many of you I am able to serve but we do not have all we need. My current support is about 30% of what I need to serve full-time in missions. Counseling is not only something I love to do but we are hoping it will be a way for me to bring in more income or bring in my own support so to speak so that I can continue to serve in this mission. We have a big praise as I was finally able to get my “factura” and “ruk” which is essentially permission to practice business here and provide necessary documents to clients for tax purposes. Our specific need now is two-fold, first, a location where I can practice and we need a miracle as it would seem very difficult to rent an office unless we find an amazing deal; second, I will need clients of course that are English speaking. We are reaching out to the US Embassy and missionary community and placing it in GOD’s hands!

I often pause to just reflect and realize what GOD has done and what an enormous privilege and gift it is to be able to be doing this work. This would not be possible without your financial support and prayers, thank you! If you want to know more about anything at all mentioned above, we are always happy to share just send us a quick email and we can get connected. I LOVE sharing what GOD is doing but I am by no means a writer so thanks in advance for your patience.

Though Juan Manuel is not able often at this time to be physically with me in these missions, he is my number one cheerleader and I am so thankful for all GOD has led him through to be our spiritual leader. We are a team and one in this as GOD designed and so as a team we both send a huge “Ecuadorian” hug and thank you from the bottom of our hearts! You remain in our prayers!

Your Partners In CHRIST,

Juan Manuel & Shawna Landázuri

“that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12


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